Ashesi University College (Ashesi), a world class university located on the Berekuso hills, Eastern Region, is undertaking two innovative research projects that will contribute to its goals of maintaining a green campus where the future leaders of Africa can study.
The projects are being conducted in collaboration with a team of students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Pittsburgh, U.S., under the iSTEP summer internship program organized by the TechBridgeWorld research group at CMU. The project, dubbed iSTEP 2012 Ghana, brings together interns from CMU and Ashesi to develop systems for monitoring and managing water usage and waste generation on Ashesi’s campus.
Ashesi believes strongly in environmental sustainability. As the university expands its infrastructure and enrolls more students, it realizes the importance of being pro-active about monitoring its impact on the environment and surrounding communities. This includes managing resources like water and monitoring the university’s generation and disposal of waste.
The CMU-Ashesi team has been conducting thorough background research and needs assessment of the water and waste projects and their findings are being used to develop solutions to suit the campus’ needs. In addition, the team will provide suggestions on how these solutions can be incorporated into future phases of campus construction.
The team is developing a suite of technological tools to track consumption, collection and disposal of water and waste resources throughout Ashesi’s campus. These tools include an SMS data recording application, a database content management system and a visualization interface for the data.
The technology solutions that come out of these projects will be open sourced for the benefit of others in Ghana and the global community. It is also hoped that the awareness campaign solutions that come out of these projects will be useful to other organizations.
One interesting research finding was made during the team’s June visit to Zoomlion Ghana Limited, where it was discovered that the composition of waste produced at Ashesi was similar to that collected in Accra by Zoomlion. The team’s needs assessments have also revealed that 63% of Ashesi’s waste is compostable, and a further 15% is recyclable in some way (paper, plastics, glass, etc.).